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Everything posted by DarkKnight

  1. Hi all, Thought I'd share my latest 'Seniors Moment' with you. I've recently discovered that the Orion Nebula is visible from my yard for the next week or so, and as that was the target I'd picked for my first light with the modded EQ6 I was rather chuffed. My yard is pretty treed-in but I have a clear window from the SW to NNW. Beauty, thought I'd have to travel. I've fitted the SynScan upgrade kit to the mount and it's now NEQ6 Pro spec, so I thought I'd better give it all a trial run. Set it up in the lounge room, did a rough polar alignment, as in 'South is thataway' and turned it on. Went through the initialisation process and decided to do a trial 2 star alignment. Picked the first star and hit 'Enter' and away she went, with a little whine and no grinding of gears, so I must have got the motors fitted right. YeeHaaaa !!!! With a break in the clouds, I'll be outside tonight. However something didn't look right with where the camera was pointing. I looked at the mount and realised that it was about 45° off where it should have been. I tried about 6 more alignments using different stars and all gave the same result. My camera was pointing South to that blumming big tree in my yard. I looked at the set-up, looked some more, went and had another look at Stellarium, poured a glass of Chardonnay, had a think, had another look, and another glass of Chardonnay, and the penny dropped. I had diligently initialised the mount with all the correct data, including the CURRENT TIME, 15.30, however had Stellarium set to 21.30, about 6 hours ahead. Set Stellarium back to the current time and the camera was pointing pretty damn close to where it should be. Derr, what a dumb mistake to make. Only a couple of hours of frustration, and I bet I won't make that mistake again. I'd like to say that skill, intellect, and experience prevailed here, however I believe that the thanks go to McGuiggans Black Label Chardonnay, from one of the Hunter Valleys finest vineyards, for helping me get back on track.
  2. Hi Herzy, The new Celestron Advanced VX mount seems to review quite well with no real problems reported. SonnyE (up 3 posts ) seems quite happy with it. They state the carrying capacity as 30lbs and if you look at this thread ... ....... it confirms that you don't need a very expensive monster 'scope to get excellent photos of the night sky.
  3. Hi amkamal, Sorry, had a seniors moment and didn't read the post thoroughly. You already have a SynScan mount so disregard me waffle.
  4. You're very welcome, and you did a much better job on reducing the blown out core than I did.
  5. Hi Herzy, I've recently been through this same exercise. I wanted to do some astro imaging with my DSLR and thought the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer would be the bees knees. I asked about it on the forums and was mainly greeted with silence. More research led me down the path to the EQ3, HEQ5 and EQ6. I'm and old fart and have learnt from experience that when you think you have found the ideal bit of kit, go up to the next level for a bit of future proofing. I didn't notice what you intend to mount on it, but as a general rule of thumb most seem to advocate not going over 50% of the mounts stated load capacity to avoid putting undue strain on the motors. I eventually settled on an HEQ5 and it duly arrived, in a less than pristine state, and was promptly returned. The mount, per se, seemed quite OK for my purposes however it was back on the hunt for an affordable alternative. Being retired, and on a very tight budget, the bottom like was very important to me. In my searching I came across a new EQ6, the bottom of the range, without the stepper motors and SynScan, the built-in alignment and tracking software. The price was right so I grabbed it and have since acquired the motor and SynScan upgrade kit, all up at about 2/3 of the price of a similarly specced new NEQ6 Pro. I should point out at this time that mounts in this range aren't exactly featherweights with the mount itself weighing in at 16Kgs, so keep this in mind if portability is an issue. There are always good lightly used mounts coming onto the market from folk who find that they just don't use the gear that they bought in a fit of enthusiasm, so keep an eye on the classifieds. Good luck with your search. PS: For what it's worth the Celestron CG5 you linked to above seems to be the dearer GT model. Celestron is now owned by Synta who also make SkyWatcher. This thread discusses the CG5 and the HEQ5.
  6. Hi Wornish, I'm also very new to this Astro stuff but have a bit more general photography experience. One thing I've quickly picked up on is that what one sees with their stacked image contains a whole heap of hidden data. In my quest to improve my astro PP'ing technique I often download others images to try and hone my limited skills. PP is very subjective and there is no one method suits all tastes or desired outcomes. Anyway I copied your image to see if I could bring out some more detail, and I hope you don't mind. Bear in mind that I was working with a 150kb image and not the monster TIF file you got from DSS. I'm a long, long way from being a Photoshop guru, more of your trial and error sort of a person, but I've found with my own images that the Dehaze slider in Camera Raw is a great tool for cleaning up images. Basically what I did was to back-off the Highlights a couple of times and the same with the Dehaze slider. I also looked at the colours individually in 'Levels' and finally tweaked the Gamma slider in Exposure. OK, the core is still blown out, but I've seen NASA images that don't look too different. I'm not in anyway posting this as a perfect example of PP'ing, more to make you aware of just what the Dehaze slider can do to assist you with your own PP work.
  7. Sounds like a White Balance adjustment may be needed. Good idea to post a copy of the shot as it helps to pinpoint the problem. And FWIW, Photoshop CS2 is available for free download.
  8. Mike Do all those thumbscrews on the scope allow you to align it with the camera?
  9. Hi Frank I've just been through the exercise of mounting my DSLR to my modded EQ6. I settled on a Farpoint Bread Board Dovetail and fitted an Arca Swiss clamp. If you got a long enough Bread Board you could possibly mount the camera and finder scope side by side. Have a look at the Farpoint website as they have all sorts of bibs 'n' bobs. As I'm in the process of doing something similar I've looked around and saw this thread.
  10. Hi all, I've been following the 'Imaging with the 130pds' thread and have been very impressed with the images shown. Obviously I need some sort of adapter to mount my Nikon D800 to the scope and was wondering what else was required. Unfortunately I'm about a 400Klm round trip away from being able to physically inspect the scope so have to rely on the WWW. I've found the scope on FLO's site and looking at the pic raises some questions. - My D800 with battery grip weighs around 3lbs. Is the mount on the scope metal and will it easily support this weight? - Is there sufficient room between the camera mount and the finder scope for a large DSLR? - Most of my imaging will involve car travel and wondered how this scope would handle that. - Is there anything else that I need? I have a SynScan modded EQ6 so I think I should be OK as far as overall weight is concerned. Thanks in advance.
  11. What a top first attempt. As already mentioned a slight WB adjustment to back off the blue cast and give your LR Dehaze slider a little tweak. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the result. PS: I've recently been working on WB so I had a fiddle with your image. Hope you don't mind. As I suspected there is a whole heap of recoverable data by using LR's Dehaze slider.
  12. I use this one ... http://www.stellarium.org/ Just enter your location and you can use the calendar to change date and time to view the night sky.
  13. I've just ordered a Bahtinov mask so this thread was quite helpful.
  14. I don't know whether your camera has one but I use the viewfinder shutter to stop light intrusion through the viewfinder on longer exposures.
  15. You may get a surprise how much detail is in that RAW file. I sure did when I PP'ed this shot.
  16. Hi Pankaj, This shot was taken just before I got my EQ6 mount and the camera was tripod mounted. At 30secs with a 14mm lens I think I was right on the limit for star trailing. This post was really an exercise in PP (with Photoshop CS6 in Adobe CC) and judging by the feedback it seems I'm on the right track. I only got the last pieces to set-up my mount a week ago and of course the weather has not been kind to me. I have tried a stacking exercise with DSS with Darks but no Bias frames. If the weather man is right I'm hoping to get out in the next week to do some tracking with my now modded EQ6 (I've done the V4 SynScan upgrade). Thanks you for your kind remarks.
  17. Cheers Peter. I came across this one locally ... Sky-Watcher BKP 130 OTAW Dual Speed, which looks identical to the 130P-DS .... http://www.sirius-optics.com.au/astrophotography/astrophotography-optical-tube-assemblies/skywatcher-130-650-photo-reflector.html The specs read the same so it may be the 'down-under' version although it doesn't appear on the local SkyWatcher site.
  18. Some pretty impressive shots here. Is the 130P-DS now discontinued, and if so, what is it's replacement?
  19. The distortion, as with most UWA lens, is on the periphery and is caused by the curvature of the lens elements so I don't think stopping down would help. However stopping down to f5.6 gives the lens a big boost in edge sharpness. I've never noticed the distortion in any astro shot and I've managed to correct it in architectural shots. PS: I should add that if I was in the market today for an UWA lens I'd be having a VERY serious look at the new Tamron SP 15-30MM F/2.8 Di VC USD.
  20. Many thanks for the kind words Alexx. The PP was done with Adobe CC and most of it in levels, with a bit of a fiddle in Selective Colour, although as I said above I really didn't know what I should finish up with. The Gamma Correction slider, at least in my inexperience, seems like a very useful tool too. I'm very happy with the Samyang 14mm as it seems fairly sharp right across the frame and stacked up very well against some very expensive opposition in the various online lab test results I looked at. Focusing is a bit fiddly as the infinity marker is way off, so I mainly focus using magnified live view. Unfortunately it doesn't have a filter thread so you can't use a Bahtinov Focus Mask. And like all UWA lens it has some distortion but I've done some architectural work with it and it corrected fairly well. In general I'd give it a
  21. Thanks. I tend not to take others ideas as gospel but rather to assess them, and if I think they hold water, pick out the bits that I may find useful.
  22. Know the feeling. Now that I have my EQ6 modded and ready to go, and my camera mount sorted, the weather has been crappy. But I won't complain too much because I think I get a few more clear nights down under than you get in Essex. My biggest bugbear is that I'm treed-in at home so I have to travel to do some imaging.
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